The outgoing Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay and his 10 ministers on 9 August handed back their duty vehicles.
Dasho Tshering Tobgay said, “Today I returned the prime minister’s official duty vehicle, the very same vehicle that I returned in 2013. The Toyota Prado served me well for 10 years. But the bigger story is that all ten other ministers also returned their duty vehicles today, putting an emphatic end to the decades of entitlement expected by former ministers.”
On returning the duty vehicles, the party president said that it is a big deal from the perspective that all these years until PDP’s tenure, ministers kept their duty vehicles. “What we are leaving behind is not just our vehicles, but it is about good precedence, and as a small country we cannot afford such unreasonable sense of entitlement”, he said.
Dasho clarified that the Thrizin of National Council and Speaker of the National Assembly had already handed over their vehicles earlier. The Opposition Leader also handed over his vehicle.
In 2013 the then former DPT government took 12 Prados (including the the then NC Thrizin) along with the former PM taking a full option Toyota Land Cruiser. The then ministers also kept their official I pads, laptops, phones, printers etc.
The Dasho Tshering Tobgay who was the then Opposition Leader refused to take his Prado and he also questioned the whole move. He also pointed out that there was no Royal Kasho in 2013.
The outgoing PM also wrote to the RAA about it and asked them to look into the issue, earlier this year.
Before 2008, some of the former DPT ministers had earlier received a Toyota Land Cruiser and Prado each, during the first pre-democracy terms as ministers in 1998-2002.
After a second term as ministers in 2002-2007, they were again allowed to keep their government duty Toyota Land Cruisers and Toyota Prados.
2013 was the third time for them taking the government duty vehicles and the first time for the newer ministers.
The current government’s decision to hand back the government duty Prados and not seek to take them like past ministers will mean a total saving of Nu 102.2 mn for the government exchequer.
This is because the Prime Minister, 10 ministers, Speaker, Thrizin and Opposition Leader are eligible for Prados bringing the total to 14 Prados. With the cabinet’s decision to not take the Prados nobody else is eligible to take them.
The Prado Model of the ministers are the TX model purchased at Nu 3.5 mn each without sales tax and customs duty but inclusive of a five percent green tax coming to a total of Nu 49 mn.
Furthermore, if the ministers had taken the Prado then the next government would have to replace them with 14 other Prados now costing Nu 3.8 mn each (without taxes) it would have lead to a budgetary implication of Nu 53.2 mn.
Therefore, the total saving from not taking the current lot of Prados and also not having to replace them is Nu 102.2 mn in total.